Sermon:
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them”. (Isaiah 40:6-8).

I’m wondering if you noticed a new grey hair when you were getting ready for church this morning?

I’m wondering if you noticed one more tiny wrinkle to add to the total?

If you’re under 30, I’m wondering if you noticed those first little lines at the corners of your eyes?

It’s a sad fact that no matter how many potions we use regularly, no matter how often we do our beauty routines, our bodies continue to age at precisely the rate the Lord has ordained for them. We are born with a steady progress towards death.

The French have a lovely word for “without” – “sans” – you may remember it from French lessons at school. Shakespeare uses it to great effect in his play “As You Like It”.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling in the nurse’s arms:
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning-face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.
(There is the lover, the soldier, the judge)…
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

These bodies of ours are IMPERMANENT, TERMINAL, TRANSITORY, TEMPORARY.

So why worry about a few wrinkles?

But it is not just our weak bodies that are terminal; the mighty material things of nature are too.

"The Sun is expanding all the time. It may now be up to 30% brighter than when it formed 4.5 billion years ago, and in 1.1 billion years’ time it will have grown by a further 10%. Some 3.5 billion years from now, the Sun will be 40% hotter that it is today. The oceans will boil away and life on Earth will be extinguished. At some time thereafter the sun will balloon out into a burning red giant, 170 times its present diameter, and engulf the orbit of Mercury. In the process, its core will contract and it will lose about half its mass, and the planets’ orbits will change. The Earth will drift outwards to about the orbit of Mars, but the heat from the expanding Sun will be so great that our planet’s surface will be heated to 1873 degrees C - the temperature at which rocks melt. Finally the Sun will collapse to a white dwarf and wink out, and the Earth will drift for ever as a lifeless cinder in the darkness of space”. (Reader’s Digest Assoc. Ltd. “Natural Disasters”).

Our creative endeavours are impermanent also. Our buildings may last a thousand